Friday, July 30, 2010

Wish You Were Here...

"Scenery is beautiful, wish you were here." So goes the typical postcard sent from a fabulous vacation. It was true of the vacation we just completed. Twenty-seven cousins and spouses from ten states gathered in Minnesota for a once-every-four-years reunion, and we had a blast! ("Wish you were here" to all the cousins who could not make it this time. Hope to see you all at the next one.)

Interlachen Lodge in Alexandria, Minnesota, on Lake Le Homme Dieu

our room, lakeside view

Cousin Nancy sang a solo at the Sunday morning church service.. beautiful! My sister cried.

went for boat rides and swam

played with our chicken...'s a long story

my uncle, age 90 and aunt, mid-80's. you'd never guess!

my immediate family; one BIL was not around for the picture

we chatted

and chatted

had a short memorial service for six of us who passed away since our last reunion

ate a lot of delicious food

took turns cooking

went to a Beetles baseball game

they won!

demonstrated our maturity levels

attended a play

wow! a full moon!

must we really leave? what a fabulous time we had!

Looking forward to 2014!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

All-Day Photos

I have spent all day cropping and fixing and organizing the photos from our family reunion which ended yesterday. I'm too tired to work on my blog as well (I know, it looks horrible.. something happened to my design layout). So this is what you get... a movie of the lake we stayed on. The horrible sound is the wind on my camera's microphone. It was a beautiful day, cooling breeze off the lake, but the movie makes it sound like a tornado.


I just returned from a fabulous vacation - a family reunion of adult cousins on my dad's side of the family. We had a blast! It was our second reunion; first one took place four years ago.

It's 2:00 a.m., and I can't even think straight. After a good night's sleep I will post more pictures and narrative. What am I doing up at 2:00 a.m.??

Monday, July 26, 2010

Two More Books!

I finished two more books for my A-Z challenge. Having the Kindle got me excited to focus on reading and see how I like it electronically (so far: love it)!

photo from amazon dot com

I read a W book: The Wolf at Twilight by Kent Nerburn. Actually I had read this book last year, but it was so fantastic that I decided to read it again. And I still love it and think it is fantastic! This book, and it's predecessor, Neither Wolf Nor Dog, should be on everyone's must-read list!!! I can't say enough about how moving these books are: so full of wisdom, tenderness, human trauma and pain along with healing, hope, and laughter. Just absolutely fab.u.lous. FABULOUS! They are worth purchasing and keeping on your bookshelf for years and reading more than once. And giving as gifts to friends near and far. Have I said enough good things about them yet? If not, ask me questions, and I'll be glad to tell you more! LOL.

Then I read an O book. It was the first Kindle book I've read -- The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore. Two guys with the same name grow up in Baltimore. One (the author), despite early life struggles, manages to go to college and becomes a Rhodes scholar to Oxford in England. The other ends up in prison for life. Very interesting juxtaposition of the two lives. It really made me think of how important it is to touch people's lives and give them some hope!!! We can't think of people as "throw-away" people! There is way too much of that in today's world.

Reading it on my Kindle was FUN! I'm liking my new toy.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago today our son married his lovely wife! That was a JOYOUS and happy day!

We went out for dinner and to an outdoor concert to celebrate their anniversary. Here they are being cute and still in love. Melody is making her "someone is taking my picture so I'm being silly" face.

I love having a daughter-in-law, and it is such a joy to see my son happy and having someone love him. It warms a mommy's heart.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Family of Birds

I posted this photo on July 7 and said I thought nothing was happening inside, except maybe the hanging around of a sad Bachelor Bird who just couldn't find Mrs. Right.

Well, I was wrong! This week, while enjoying my new Kindle which I gifted to myself, I spent some time lounging on our deck, reading. And what did I hear but a bunch of baby birds screeching for food, and I noticed a mommy bird hustling back and forth from the birdhouse to the woods, again and again and again, finding food for her babies. When she came back they would all screech and beg "me, me, me!" and hope to get the gift of food. It is so cute and special to sit on one's deck and listen to a Bird Family growing and learning right there in the side yard. What a treat!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another Quilter in Heaven

(tiny pics of a few quilts finished by Bev.. a small fraction of the thousands she completed over the years)

They better watch out in Heaven. Bev B. has arrived, and will be looking for some sturdy sewing machines so she can get busy churning out quilts by the dozen. If there is extra smoke coming from the skies, it's Bev B., quilting at top speed in Heaven.

Bev had heart problems in recent years and after surgery seemed to struggle with medication levels and getting stabilized. We believe she died on July 21 of heart-related issues.

Bev was a pillar of the Sunshine community for years, being our most faithful cheerleader, prolific quilter, and champion of all of us Sunnies whether we were beginners or pros. She worked hard to help us keep going when the Sunshine founder, BillieJean, had to withdraw, and helped us find new donation sources when our work with International Red Cross was no longer possible.

In recent years Bev pretty much exclusively did machine quilting for those of us who love to make tops. She could finish about a million tops per day, post photos, and get them off in the mail in no time at all. She always allowed us to send her our quilt tops, no matter how many she already had waiting in line. She never got overwhelmed with the numbers and managed to catch up while we struggled to make one or two more tops.

I was a new quilter about 11 years ago, and Bev encouraged me and always had such nice comments about my quilt tops, as she did of every single one she worked on. She got such joy out of working with the colors, patterns, and the idea of where the quilts were going. Thousands of children around the world are warmed and cuddled thanks to Bev's speedy work, and hundreds of quilters are still in the business thanks to Bev's encouragement.

Bev adored Alaska and delighted in the change of seasons, the moose who wandered into her yard, and the northern lights, sharing stories of her ice-bound condition or her joy in basking in the sun on her deck.

Part of me is wanting to not believe the news, but I know it has to be true. We could see this coming with her failing health and increased visits to hospital.

This week I received a box of fabrics from Bev. I think she knew she was not long for this world.

RIP, Bev Bennett, quilter extraordinaire.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jean's Quilt

Update on the quilt we made for Jean.. she did see it! This is a picture of the quilt top, before it was completed.

From our guild prez: JS took the quilt to Jean on Thursday, two days before Jean died. JS reports that Jean was beaming when she saw the quilt, and wrapped up in it on her way home from the hospital.

40 Years Later

Last weekend I attended my 40th high school reunion. When the invitation came out several months ago, I could hardly believe it. 40 years?? I feel like I'm barely over the age of 40, so how can this be?!

I had not attended a reunion since our 10th, even though they've had them regularly every five years or so. Finally my friends Kay and Cindy and Lulu and I decided to go together, and this year we made it, minus Lulu who has moved out of state. And we missed our pal, Barbie, who died in a car crash several years ago.

my hair's excuse: I got rained on while coming in tonight

I was surprised that it was fun! Also funny, and a little weird. How did all those people get so old? Especially the men.. lots of baldies. The women were surprisingly beautiful, still, except for yours truly. And the people I talked to were quite nice and friendly. We're nicer as grown-ups than as twerpy high school kids.

Still, I'm not sure I'll attend the next one, whenever it is. Maybe Kay and Cindy will be able to convince me.. or maybe I'll just have lunch with Kay and Cindy.

guy on left...

...and this guy...

...and the woman on the right; all of them were kids my mom knew from Sunday School and confirmation years. I took these pictures to show her, but she did not recognize a single one of them!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Missing Jean

This morning I was shocked to hear that Jean, a long-time member of my local quilt guild, died on July 17. She was beautiful, talented, funny, pleasant, and she was so nice to everyone! She was good at greeting new members at our meetings. She made gorgeous quilts which were pieced precisely and hand quilted so beautifully. She was never a quilt snob and appreciated utilitarian quilts as well. She was very humble about her own machine quilting abilities (which, of course, always turned out just fine).

Jean at her 10-year-post-heart-transplant party

Jean lived a fabulous 15 years after having a heart transplant. She was very active in all levels of quilting and gave away many quilts to many people in crisis. She worked with the Minnesota Quilt Project to help document historical quilts and wrote the introduction in the book, Minnesota Quilts. She headed up the Minnesota Home of the Brave quilt project which gives a quilt to every family in Minnesota who lost a son, husband, daughter in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. I've been collecting fabrics to make blocks for this project and always had in mind that some day I would surprise Jean and make and complete a whole quilt and just hand it to her - all done! She would have been pleased. Now I'll have to do it post-humously to honor Jean. I always thought I had plenty of time.

Jean discussing one of the completed Home of the Brave quilts

Jean always sat in the front at our guild meetings, because of her hearing loss. This meant I got to sit with or near her many times, because as historian and photographer, I always sat in front, too, to capture the best possible photographs. I thought it was a privilege to sit next to her; I'm going to miss that!

Jean was making this quilt entirely by hand!

I was floored at how beautiful it was!

She was working on this at a sew-in day at my church in 2008. I don't know if she ever finished this gorgeous quilt.

I saw Jean at the Minnesota Quilters show in June this year. She was walking around on her new, surgically-improved hip! What a tough cookie! That was the last time I saw Jean. Our guild had just finished a quilt to give Jean after her hip surgery and just because we love her... it was to be presented to her in July, but I couldn't make the meeting. It was only 4 days before she died; she had hospice care in the end. I'm guessing she never got to see the quilt we made her.

We'll miss you, Jean. Your empty front seat at our guild meetings will be a sad sight. Our hearts are heavy, but we are thankful and blessed to have known you!

Jean enjoying the 2010 MQ show.. this is not a quilt that she made

A few members of our guild, DCSQ, posed for a photo. Jean is in the pink blouse. I am standing behind her.

Kay's Homestead

I went to visit my friend, Kay. Even though we've been friends forever, I had never been to her house! She and her husband live in the country and have a pretty little place... apple trees, a huge garden, a pretty dog, and a great view of a little lake that she looks at while making quilts. She has a ton of beautiful quilts piled all around the place. Every time I commented on one she said, "oh, that's OLD!" as if that renders it unworthy of appreciation. Ha! Her quilts were beautiful! Unfortunately, I failed to get any pictures of her quilts. That was foolish!

Kay's big garden serves as her own personal fitness program

They have donkeys! So cute.. and their twin grand-daughters ride them!

Kay's sewing station...

...and the great view she enjoys while sewing